Former Murray Bushranger defender Ryan Garthwaite has credited teammates for his solid debut for Richmond against Geelong at the MCG.
At 193cms and 91kgs, Garthwaite gave away five and 10 respectively when he lined up against Cat powerhouse Tom Hawkins.
“I just saw it as an opportunity, obviously he’s a well-known footballer and a big guy, but the way the boys made me feel so comfortable down there with ‘Rancey’ (Alex Rance) and ‘Grimesy’ (Dylan Grimes), just the way they believed in me and knew that I could do the job,” Garthwaite said.
“We’re big at Richmond on team defence, we have our match-up but throughout the game you find yourself on different people, but to start on him (Hawkins) was probably surreal.”
Garthwaite had nine possessions and was the only Tiger with a 100 per cent disposal efficiency in the team’s 18-point win in front of 46,423 spectators..
“When I look back on it now, there wasn’t so much an individual moment, it was a team moment when I got my jumper before the game, it was amazing with all my family in the room, all the boys, staff and coaches,” he said.
“Then after the game the Gatorade shower, that was amazing, to get the win in my first game and to sing the song, I just can’t explain it, they’re just the best bunch of blokes to play footy with.”
Garthwaite received his jumper from Richmond 1980 premiership player Emmett Dunne.
The bye has allowed the likeable Garthwaite, who turns 20 on June 30, to return to the family farm for a few days before he sets about cementing his spot in the run home to finals.
“My mindset’s been the same all the way through, to get better and improve, you never stop learning, I think that’s my philosophy,” he said.
“I’m happy where I’m at, but not satisfied.”
Garthwaite admitted struggling to control his emotions after being named to make his Richmond debut.
“Since I started kicking the footy, that’s all I’ve wanted to do,” Garthwaite said.
“I got the phone call from ‘Dimma’ (coach Damien Hardwick) on Saturday afternoon, it was a bit surreal.
“I took a few deep breaths, it was a pretty emotional time, I did shed a couple of tears actually.
“I rang mum and dad and my sister and let them know.”
Hardwick said it was rewarding to unveil the club's second debutant of the season after Jack Higgins forced his way into the side earlier in the season.
"To see young Garthwaite come in, he's a very popular member of our footy club, one for his character but two for his incredible work rate, the way he approaches his training," he said.